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Success, whether massive or modest, shouldn’t be the goal of any experiment that you undertake. The goal can, and perhaps always should, be to learn something new. And, by extension, to learn something about yourself at the same time.

Scott Nesbit / Weekly Musings

Experiments don’t have to be grand in scope and scale. It’s obvious, really, but easy to forget.


Last Sunday, one of the large panes of glass in our french doors exploded. There wasn’t any external impact. It just gave up on life. That, I thought, just finishes the year perfectly. A final fuck you from 2020.

Many words have been written and will be written, about what a crap year 2020 has been. For me, putting aside externalities, it hasn’t been as bad as it could have been. I’ve missed the get-togethers, cinema, museums and country houses. But there was also much to be glad about: our eldest daughter moving away to university, getting a job and revealing that she can function as a human without our input or opinions; switching jobs and recovering some sanity, building a space of my own, driving less and walking more.

Coronavirus changed our lives in ways that were unimaginable twelve months ago. New behaviours are so entrenched that our youngest daughter remarked on how strange it is that none of the characters on Animal Crossing practice social distancing, or wear a mask. I’m looking forward to the new normal being replaced by the old normal.

I’m hugely grateful to the bloggers that plug away at their sites week in, week out. I’m grateful for the brief glimpses into your lives and the knowledge that while we’re all going through same thing, we deal with it in our own ways. I’ve made an effort to reach out and tell you that. I’ll continue doing the same in 2021.

I have no willpower and fragile self-esteem, so there are no goals or resolutions for next year. What will be, will be, and it will be enough.

All the best.

Driving in Japan

James van Dyne explains how driving licences work in Japan:

There’s 3 different levels of license in Japan, green, blue, and gold. You get a gold license by renewing twice without (any?) infractions or accidents. Having a gold license will also entail you to a 10% discount on your auto-insurance. But if you get tickets with a gold license, they’ll move you down to blue on your next renewal. Even though I’ve been driving for over 15 years, my driving history in Japan is only 3 years, so I was on a green and am now blue.

James Van Dyne

That’s a neat system. We have a similar way of doing things in the UK. Infractions of the Highway Code will get you ‘points’ on your licence, which in turn result in higher insurance premiums. Minor infractions might get you three points, more severe ones up to twelve points and they take away your licence if you get twelve points in a three year period.

It’s nice that you are rewarded for good driving in Japan.

He explains a bit more about the process in his post, which appears to be as well organised as you would expect.

Jon Worth’s Brexit Diagram V5

Jon Worth is at it again, and has produced a flowchart of the messy possibilities and probabilities that may or may not result from recent government shenanigans. Spoiler: it doesn’t look good.

I’ve given any hope of being able to rely on predictions, but I’m pleased that Jon still has some faith in quantitive analysis.

Jon updates the diagrams as events progress, so worth bookmarking the page and watching for updates as things move along. His Brexit commentary is as good as his chart making skills.

Ana, on tech-savvy privilege

Ana Rodrigues has written a lovely monologue on the problems that consumers of the internet face, and of how tech-savvy people, like you and me, are reaching the wrong conclusions on how we can fix it – if we can fix it at all.

…the “rage quit social media” is a privilege. I tried it once for three months and we were miserable. The moment we don’t have the same apps to communicate, things like MMS don’t seem to work well between different operating systems of phones. They just want to communicate with me like… everyone else is communicating with everyone else. They are not going to be involved in a discussion about ethics and privacy of social media. I can’t blame them. Why would they?

Having a blog is tech-privilege. I can make one. You can probably make one too. We are a tech-savvy minority. Sure, you could say that anyone can go and get one from WordPress. Easy, right? It’s not. I’ve watched people at work struggle to insert pictures in a word document. It involves knowing about WordPress, learning how to navigate through the sign-up, setting themes, post titles – the list is endless. Why do that when you can sign-up to Facebook, quick as a flash, and all your mates are there. Owning your content is hard. We do it because we can. Most people can’t.

I don’t have a Facebook account because I think they are a treacherous bunch of scumbags. It’s a moral stance, and arguably the right one – but in the grand scheme of things it makes fuck all difference to Facebook, and makes it harder for people to contact me who don’t even have the choice.

..when my parents bought that phone and were forced into a Google account, apps like Facebook and whatsapp were already installed. The majority of the people who didn’t grow up with the internet, especially those who don’t speak english, don’t know about browsers. To most people it is: “Look up on the internet”. And the internet is this thing and no app on their phone is called “internet”.

The problem is more complex than we think, and the solutions not what we think they are.

..things won’t be fixed by only creating your own blog and sending your RSS feed to your parents. Things won’t be fixed either by burning all the evil websites. The problem is much deeper as it isn’t just websites: it’s operating systems, it’s protocols, it’s hardware, it’s software, it’s design, it’s internationalisation and more.

Ana, you are so right.

Read the entire thing. It’s wonderful.

Kicks Condor down?

Looks like Kicks Condor, the eclectic and whimsical link-blog, has been taken off-line by Walt Disney.

Uh oh.

Hope this can be resolved. Kicks Condor was a great way to find new and interesting stuff to read.

EDIT: I think there is more to this than meets the eye.

EDIT 2: Clicking on the Disney logo brings up this message:

Okay – this isn’t an aggressive shake-down by Disney, but hatever it is, it has gone way over my head.

Love what you do

I enjoyed this post by Kev Quirk, on the importance of doing work that you love.

If you’re working in a job you’re not happy with, move on. Even if you have to take a step back in your career, it’s so worth it in the long run.

Kev Quirk

It’s something I’ve thought about a lot over the past few years. I certainly don’t love my job. I can’t remember the last time I woke up raring to go in – it’s just what I’ve done for twenty-odd years. It pays the bills, it’s secure, and I’m good at it (or at least not bad at it).

Is that enough?

In need of adventure

Read Jane’s short account of her small camping adventure on Harlosh Island and then weep about how rubbish your week has been:

We loaded our kayaks with all we would need for the night and made the short paddle across from Harlosh to Harlosh Island where we set up camp for the night. We spent a lovely afternoon exploring the island and swimming.

If that got you in the mood for adventure, head straight over to read Katie Tunn’s comprehensive tips for quick outdoor adventures.

It’s been a good few years now since I’ve done any wild camping. Both of these popped up in my feeds today. Someone, somewhere, is trying to tell me something..